Austin expected to seek authorization to make vaccine mandatory for active duty troops
Defense Secretary Gen. Lloyd Austin is reportedly seeking authorization to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for active-duty troops, according to CNN.
A defense official told CNN that Austin would be seeking a presidential waiver for the vaccine to be administered to troops before getting full approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Biden’s recent push for vaccinations created pressure to seek a presidential waiver quickly instead of waiting for FDA approval, CNN reported. Several officials said a recommendation for how to proceed could come as soon as this week.
The potential decision comes as Biden announced that all federal employees must be vaccinated or be tested daily.
The recent push for vaccinations comes amid the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. in large part because of the delta variant.
Defense officials added that the Pentagon is currently thinking about having troops who are scheduled for future deployments receive the vaccine.
In a news conference in the Philippines on July 30, Austin said that he would consult with medical officials on a timeline to implement the new policy, saying that he and his officials want to make sure that everyone is protected.
“But, you know, we’ll, we’ll move this expeditionally — expeditiously, if possible. You know, I — quite frankly, I’m inclined to, to move towards making sure that everybody is, is properly protected,” Austin said.